As most parents will remember, bringing a newborn home is one of the most exciting, joyful and exhausting times of life. Whether the baby is the first or the fourth, they offer a delightful disruption to family life and routine. With the arrival of both my babies, I have been so blessed to be part of church communities that organise the delivery of home cooked meals to my door. I can’t imagine getting through those first few weeks without this generous display of the love of Christ through his people, the church. This article hopes to encourage you and your church families to display this love to new parents in the same way.
But I have one request – please don’t bring these families pasta, again! While spaghetti bolognaise can be an easy, delicious toddler-pleasing meal (and sometimes even nutritious if your chef decides to add a few vegies); it can also be tiresome after three solid weeks. So here are some tips to ensure this act of love is not entirely an act of linguine.
Use a website like Take Them A Meal
If you are coordinating the meal schedule use a website like Take Them A Meal. People can easily sign up for a particular day making the coordinating very simple. More importantly, they can detail what meal they are cooking. This is a super simple way to ensure variety.
Make sure all requirements are clear
It is useful and important to know how many people (adults and children) are being catered for and whether there are any intolerances or allergies.
Use disposable containers
Unless you are happy to gift your fancy pyrex dishes to the family, please use disposable containers or foil trays. There is nothing more difficult when you are sleep deprived then trying to remember who owned which dish, and that’s if you can even remember to take them to church on Sunday along with lugging all that stuff a baby requires!
Don’t forget to provide meals that include vegetables. Also consider some fresh fruit for dessert or snacks rather than chocolate and ice-creams (although I can’t say I complained receiving the about the latter!).
Some suggested meals
While I must confess we did enjoy some amazing pasta dishes when our children were born (who can resist a good spag bol or hearty lasagne?), here are a few good ideas from the variety of simple meals we received for you to consider when cooking for a family.
An easy alternative to pasta is a mild curry with rice and steamed vegies. Buy a premade simmer sauce, add meat, onions and vegies of your choice either in the sauce or on the side, boil some rice and you have a simple delicious meal.
If you want to impress with minimal effort a roast dinner does the trick. Roasts can be as simple as whacking it all in the oven and boiling a few greens on the side and whipping up some packet gravy as a bonus. The wholesome home style cooking will be a treasured meal by any new parent.
Another easy meal is a frittata or zucchini slice. These can include a lot of vegies as well as being simple to transport. Add a salad and some garlic bread and you have a wonderful meal.
After both babies were born, my family have managed to catch colds. These were some pretty grim and exhausting times. A chicken soup made lovingly by a friend which we had in the freezer got us through those tough days. Consider whipping up an extra meal like this soup to freeze for those emergency days.
Finally, my personal signature meal is Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie – it’s jam packed with lots of vegies and easy to reheat. Throw a side salad into a big ziplock bag and it’s good to go. Remember to make a double batch though, because it’s so good you’ll be wanting it for dinner too!
If you would like further recipe ideas check out this blog written with hospitality ministry in mind: https://foodthatserves.com/
Finally, bringing people in need food whether it be due to a new addition to the family or other major life events like illness is such a vital ministry to every church family. Furthermore, it is a loud declaration of the love of Christ for those within the church and a bold witness for those outside the church. So, get cooking and try not to reach for the penne this time!